Lancaster: F&M’s Hidden Gem

Centered in a county full of lush, rolling farmland, you’ll find an unexpected urban oasis: Lancaster, Pa., F&M’s extraordinary home city. Lancaster offers a rich mixture of arts and culture filled with experiences for every taste and preference — all within safe walking distance of campus.

Where History and Culture Live Side by Side

In 1730, Lancaster was designated a market town, or a town in a rural area with a regular market. Today, it’s a thriving city of nearly 60,000 residents.

Lancaster’s rich history is prevalent everywhere you look. In the heart of the city is Central Market, built in 1730 and the oldest continuously operating farmers markets in the U.S. Here, you can glimpse Amish businesses operating alongside modern-day industries. Less than a mile from F&M is the Fulton Theatre House, built in 1852 and a National Historic Landmark. Some of the brightest stars of theatre, music and film have appeared on the Fulton stage, including Mark Twain, Lionel Barrymore, Louis Armstrong, W.C. Fields, and Lancaster’s own Jonathan Groff . Lancaster is also home to a distinctive collection of historic buildings, with many diverse architectural styles dating back to the 1700s, 1800s, and 1900s.

One City; Myriad Cultures

From its roots in Pennsylvania Dutch heritage to current vibrant culture, Lancaster might be the East Coast’s most surprising global village. Students in the School District of Lancaster speak more than 30 languages, reflective of the many nationalities represented within city borders alone.

This broad diversity is reflected on F&M’s campus. The College is home to more than 100 student organizations, including ethnic and lifestyle clubs, political advocacy groups, religious organizations, service groups, and other special interest clubs — all of which open their doors to any student interested in learning about new cultures, customs and cuisine.

A Lively Arts Scene

At the heart of Lancaster’s arts scene is Gallery Row, a three-block cluster of art galleries less than two miles from campus. Wander a little farther and you’re sure to bump into one of Lancaster’s public art installations or murals, several of which were created by F&M alumni and staff artists. On the first Friday of every month, step off campus and find a city abuzz as 90-plus art galleries, museums, shops and restaurants extend their hours into the evening.

And We're Just Getting Started

No matter where you turn, Lancaster is full of extraordinary opportunities for your F&M education and is ultimately an incredible place to call home. 

  • Grab a bite from one of Lancaster’s more than 100 restaurants, cafes and eateries featuring food from around the world. Many restaurants source from nearby farms to create fresh farm-to-table dishes. 
    Cheer on the Lancaster Barnstormers at Clipper Magazine Stadium, a 10-minute walk from campus. 
    Catch a show at one of Lancaster’s theatre and music venues. 
    Freshen up your wardrobe with a shopping excursion to Lancaster’s many boutiques and stores.
    See the latest independent film or blockbuster at one of Lancaster’s nearby movie theaters.



Living and Learning in Lancaster

“Lancaster is such a beautiful city that is filled with rich culture and history. Learning in Lancaster allows me to not only have endless opportunities to experience things that I love learning about in a hands-on manner, but it also lets me form connections with people outside of F&M.”

— Kaitlyn Stauffer '24

We are proud of our unbreakable ties with the Lancaster community and offer our students a variety of opportunities to live and learn in this vibrant city. Each year, more than 550 students participate in local research, internships and service projects in both the city and county. The Diplomat impact can be spotted everywhere, from city stormwater gardens built by students to Lancaster-based businesses and nonprofits started by alumni.

The College’s proximity to downtown Lancaster has created meaningful partnerships between city agencies and F&M. We partner with more than 100 businesses, nonprofits, organizations and schools to create meaningful off-campus opportunities for students and faculty.



On the Map

Lancaster’s location offers easy access to major metropolitan areas. With an Amtrak train station just two miles from campus, you can ride the rails toward an exciting day in New York City or Philadelphia with your friends. Or, hop on the highway and reach major cities and airports in just a couple of hours.

By Car

  • 1.5 hours from Baltimore
  • 1.5 hours from Philadelphia
  • 2 hours from Washington, D.C.
  • 3 hours from New York City
  • 4 hours from Pittsburgh
  • 6 hours from Hartford
  • 6.5 hours from Boston

By Plane

  • 40 minutes from Harrisburg International Airport (MDT)
  • 1.5 hours from Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI)
  • 1.5 hours from Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)
  • 2.5 hours from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)
  • 2.5 hours from Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)


Where to Dine and Stay in Lancaster

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F&M in Lancaster

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